Since the voters thought Mitt Romney could not save us from the fix we're in, who's going to do it? The fiscal cliff is just one of many cliffs that has threatened us with a mighty tumble over its edge, and Congress is more nearly the sneak who trips you than the guide who leads you to safety.
Don't meanwhile look for rescue from the White House amateur otherwise known as President Barack Obama. As an example of his helpfulness, this New Year arrives with five new Obamacare taxes that will add painfully to health costs and otherwise bollix up our lives.
Then there's this trick of nominating Sen. John Kerry as secretary of state, and yes, that would be the same John Kerry who returned from the Vietnam War saying our soldiers were war criminals. He also lied about being in Cambodia one Christmas during that war and associated with a radical veterans group that on one occasion voted on whether to assassinate U.S. senators it didn't like.
Remember how, during his 2004 campaign for president, he wanted to risk American lives by having a U.S.-led peacekeeping force save Haiti's dictatorial president from rebels because he had gotten into office through a vote of the people? Well, Adolf Hitler also got into office by a vote of the people, one proof among thousands that the fact of being elected only proves you can fool some of the people some of the time.
A horror of many liberals during that campaign was how Kerry, strutting about as a war hero, was denigrated by veterans of Vietnam Swift Boat operations as pretty much a joke of a soldier. The group's denunciations seem to have been overwrought on some (though not all) particulars, but its TV ads were a mewing kitty cat next to the 2012 TV ads depicting the morally solid Romney as something close to a murderer. Where was liberal angst this time around?
Maybe Kerry as secretary of state would actually get to Cambodia some Christmas, but my firmer conviction is that he would trot elsewhere around the world making a clown of himself and hurting our nation. Senators pretty much give their Cabinet approval to other senators, and my guess is he will get okayed.
But this country will continue to be something other than OK as long as we depend on Washington politicians whose failings could be listed in nothing less than the equivalent of the 356,000-page U.S. code of laws and regulations.
All of which brings me to the states. Maybe that's our way out of at least some of the mess we are in. Wisconsin, under a Republican governor, took on public unions and did get some meaningful measures through the Legislature. More recently, Michigan voted for right to work laws, meaning that unions cannot use the coercive powers of government to keep them in business while simultaneously robbing workers of their rights and the economy of thriving businesses.
There's a great, large fiction in this nation of how unions have forever been the friend of workers when, in fact, there have been all kinds of instances of anti-worker thuggery, theft and economic mayhem at the hands of organized labor. The good and the bad have been mixed for years, even to the point of unions being a major factor in the shutting down of businesses. A real issue is not just high wages vs. low wages, but decent wages vs. no wages.
The problem for the states, of course, is that their constitutionally promised dual sovereignty with the federal government hasn't been respected and that some of them, such as California, are victims of politics as bad as what you find in Washington. In the end, both nationally and in D.C., a wised up electorate will have to make the difference, and maybe, when things get bad enough, that will happen.
(Centennial Fellow) Good grief, says an Obama campaign struggling to regain its footing after a bad debate stumble, Mitt Romney said he wants to strip Big Bird of federal funding, and that would be awful. What could really be awful -- a tipping-point calamity for this country of ours -- would be a second Obama term in which the White House continues its politically convenient fiscal negligence.
It's that prospect that was most dramatically exposed in Romney's remarks and then underlined again in the trivializing response that a chubbily successful "Sesame Street" operation needed welfare.
The subject came up after Romney was asked what he would do about deficits. He said first off that the extent of our spending had been immoral. The government was adding $1 trillion a year to a debt that would be "passed on to the next generation," he said, explaining that those victims would "be paying the interest and principal all their lives."
The Republican presidential candidate said one way to address that issue was to get sufficiently serious about spending, to ask of any program whether it was "critical" enough to justify "borrowing money from China to pay for it." As an example, he mentioned stopping subsidies to the Public Broadcasting Service, home of Big Bird, but first mentioned repealing something else, something much bigger, something that sums up Obama's first term: "Obamacare," introduced on formal occasions as the Affordable Care Act.
We'll get back to Obamacare in a moment, but first let's talk about the core issue here, a national debt of $16 trillion that may not even wait until the next generation to visit ruin upon us. Short of serious remedies, the debt will keep the economy in a slow-motion, scarce-jobs mode with the possibility of crises that would make our current struggles seem a mere "ouch" moment in comparison.
The driving force of ever-increasing debt is entitlements, mainly Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, which of and by themselves eat up better than half of all federal outlays. As economics columnist Robert F. Samuelson points out, they will do far more chomping than that as the elderly population gets twice as large over roughly the next two decades. There is no tax solution that would be less than devastating for younger workers paying the bill.
This hazard did not appear yesterday. We've known about it for years, but almost every time some bold statesman has suggested a solution, an opportunistic demagogue has risen up to charge that the plan would condemn the elderly to misery. One such statesman was Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), now candidate for vice president, who came up with a plan to save both Medicare and the nation and was then put down by one such demagogue, none other than President Barack Obama, who treated his substantive proposals as mean-spirited imperilment.
It's true the president made his own Medicare cuts -- lower fees to hospitals and doctors that will result in reduced treatment options for patients -- but did not thereby help solve the debt problem. He made the cuts to help finance Obamacare. Even though he himself concedes something must be done about entitlements, his only concrete answer to date is to give us another entitlement.
And this particular entitlement happens to be a doozy -- a massively interventionist, bureaucratically cumbersome, still-developing surprise a day that does nothing good that could not have been achieved more cheaply and simply. It meanwhile does a lot that's bad. Just one example lately in the news concerned the Darden restaurant chain experimenting with making full-time employees part time to escape Obamacare costs under coming rules that could endanger its future.
Back to Big Bird and PBS. They won't go away if subsidies go away. They do very well, thank you, and can almost surely pull in more money if that becomes necessary. This country, however, will cease to do well if the desperate need to shrink government continues to be met with a compulsion to expand.
Friday, 28 September 2012 12:29 by Admin
Forty days from the presidential election, conservative Republican John Andrews and liberal Democrat Susan Barnes-Gelt went up on Colorado Public Television with another round of Head On mini-debates over the politics of 2012, especially the race for the White House. Starting off with foreign policy, newly prominent in the campaign, Susan lauds Obama for having "kept our country safe for four years," while John says his failed policies are "killing us... this appeaser has to go." Their disagreement on the merits of Romney vs. Obama on domestic policy is equally sharp. Here's the script:
1. PRESIDENTIAL RACE / FOREIGN POLICY
Susan: Voters must think about whom they want answering the phone at 3 AM, in the White House Residence? Mitt “Russia’s-our-greatest-threat” Romney? Or President Obama, who killed Bin Laden and his key operatives, ended the war in Iraq and has kept our country safe for four years?
John: It was Hillary Clinton who warned of Barack Obama’s unfitness to deal with that 3am foreign policy crisis, back in 2008. We now know from the recent 9/11 debacle in Egypt and Libya that both are unfit. Obama’s Muslim appeasement policy has collapsed. Voters should dial a call to Mitt Romney.
Susan: Romney has NO foreign policy experience – to wit: his diplomatic gaffs at the London Olympics; his uninformed reaction to the attack on the Libyan consulate and murder of Ambassador Chris Stevens; including injured veterans in the 47% of victims who refuse to accept responsibility? PULEEZE!
John: Reagan had no foreign policy experience either. All he did was win the Cold War without firing a shot. Because he had what Gov. Romney also has – proven ability as an executive and a leader. Obama has neither, and it’s killing us around the world. This apologizer, this appeaser, has to go.
2. PRESIDENTIAL RACE / DOMESTIC POLICY
John: Here's all you need to know about the presidential race. Any incumbent with a failing economy and a foreign policy meltdown is an underdog. Obama's only hope against Romney is to lie, distract, and change the subject. He’s doing that, and the media are helping. I think it won’t work.
Susan: What’s not working is Romney’s duck and dodge on every issue: domestic policy, foreign policy, Medicare reform, tax reform, education reform, balanced budget, student loans, the deficit, healthcare, climate change, fiscal policy, immigration, the dream act, women’s health, energy dependence, human rights – You name it. He dodges.
John: Romney will get government out of the way so free enterprise can put Americans back to work. Romney will respect the constitution and religious freedom and stop the war on churches, war on unborn babies, war between income groups. Romney will stand up for Israel and stand against Iran. America needs Mitt.
Susan: Which Mitt? The moderate, pro-choice, pro-affordable healthcare, pro-gay marriage former governor of Massachusetts? Or the elitist rich guy whose written off seniors, single moms, working people and minorities – nearly half the voters. If he governs with the same clumsy incompetence that he’s running his campaign – BIG TROUBLE!
Bob Woodward has been telling on presidents since he and Carl Bernstein teamed up to reveal the Watergate misdeeds of President Richard Nixon in the mid-1970s, and he's at it again. This time, it's President Barack Obama who is feeling the sting, not because of criminal acts, but because of ineptness, arrogance and other attributes that in combination spell peril for America.
The Washington Post associate editor may not put it quite that way in his new book, "The Price of Politics." But when you've finished reading a published excerpt and summaries, you can either indulge in liberal sympathy, saying the poor president has had the misfortune of having to deal with human beings more ordinary than he is, or you can face the truth: He's in over his head.
Woodward, while hardly purring about Republicans, has talked in an interview about Obama's "gaps" and writes that he did not take charge in tough times the way presidents usually do. Mostly, however, in the material I read, Woodward leaves such judgments to the people he interviews and to readers who can come to their own conclusions by following the story line.
It's discouraging stuff. Obama miscalculated, and badly, in negotiations with House Speaker John Boehner on getting Republicans to allow more borrowing and avert default by convincing them something significant would be done about a wildly growing, ruinous debt. Despite Republican travails about stiff tax hikes to help fix the mess, Boehner was willing to go along with an $800 billion revenue increase achieved through reform. The grand compromise was about done when Obama asked for another $400 billion. That was it. Finis. End of the game.
How bad a negotiator do you have to be to not get it that when you have a bird in hand you forget the two in the bush? After the fact, Obama said the $400 billion was just a suggestion and fumed that Boehner stayed away from the phone for a day before he unleashed his fury on the speaker. Angrily blaming others for your own mistakes strikes me as the kind of pomposity that makes things worse.
The president was outraged again when Democratic and Republican leaders in Congress, seeing the White House as a roadblock, swerved around it to negotiate their own deal. Dismissing the effort and later threatening a veto, Obama earned himself a rebuke from an aide to Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. This man, David Krone, found it a major lapse that the White House had no fallback plan when its initial bartering went astray.
Among others casting doubt on Obama as negotiator were Lawrence Summers, the former Harvard president and presidential financial adviser who said Obama just did not like the game, and Rep. Chris Van Hollen, top Democrat on the House Budget Committee, who accused the White House of having no strategy or "core principles." There's hearsay in the book that Vice President Joseph Biden, who himself seemed pretty able at reaching understandings with recalcitrant Republicans, said he would approach the negotiating "totally different" if it were up to him.
All of this matters, and it matters powerfully. We are facing a major fiscal crisis at the turn of the year if Congress does not act to keep Bush-era tax cuts in place while stopping immediate and drastic budget cuts. The latest unemployment figures show that even more frustrated people are dropping out of the job market. Middle-class incomes have fallen by thousands of dollars. And, among a host of other scary issues, we face a debt sure to deliver calamity in the absence of significant long-term cuts.
None of what is needed is likely to be achieved without a national leader who actually leads, which entails effective negotiating. We need to look elsewhere than Obama, and no, I do not mean we therefore hope he puts Biden in charge.
We need to spread the word about getting Obama out of office. People are not terribly happy with Romney, neither am I. But I think the best advice we can start to push now is control of the Supreme Court.
Antonin Scalia is 76, Anthony Kennedy is 76, Clarence Thomas is 64, Ruth Ginsburg is 79, Stephen Breyer is 74, and Samuel Alito is 62. The rest are younger than we are. The current makeup of the court is approximately five conservative, four liberal. If Obama wins and Ginsburg retires we will get a liberal candidate, possibly far left, depending on what the makeup of the new Senate is. This small shift will change the balance of the Court for the next four years.
Kennedy will be 80 toward the end of Obama's last (hypothetically) year of rule. The three young ones, Sotomayor, Kagan and Obama's final appointee will be around for another generation. They will all be, not just liberal but left to far left. It is reasonable to assume that adding another leftist to the Court will necessarily change the nature of decisions into the lives of our grandchildren.
The only way to preserve the America we know is to have Republican presidents appointing moderate Supreme Court justices. Therefore, no matter how much you dislike Romney, in the final analysis the vote this year is easy. In this case all the palaver about the economy and Islam and all the other secondary issues must take a back seat to our real future – the nature of the Supreme Court.
Whenever I describe our current president as a Socialist, I am most often greeted with shock. Take for example Obama’s new campaign slogan: “Forward!” This term has always been associated with the European socialist movement.
The official newspaper of the Socialist Party of Germany (SPD) since 1891 has been “Vorwӓrts”, which means Forward in German. The official newspaper of the Italian Socialist Party (PSI) since 1896 is “Avanti”, or Forward in Italian, and the editor of that newspaper a century ago was Benito Mussolini.
Going forward is not always a good thing. Manuel Etounga-Manguelle, a Cameroonian on the World Bank, recalls being told by an African government official, “When we gained power, the country was at the edge of an abyss; since, we have taken a great step forward.”
Instead of imploring our country to move forward, first we should look ahead to see where that step will take us. If it’s down the Socialist road, we should reconsider, considering the fate of those who have travelled on that road ahead of us.
(Centennial Fellow) What’s more frustrating about President Obama – his ignorance of how difficult it is to make a profit in business or his arrogance that there’s so little he doesn’t know?Here’s a man with less business experience than a third-grader with a lemonade stand and who has said that during his one, brief private-sector job he felt “like a spy behind enemy lines.”You need not connect many dots to conclude that his attitude toward America’s businessmen and women is “dismissive, even derisive,” to quote from Obama’s 2009 Apologizing for America Tour.Obama treats America’s job creators like inconsequential punching bags. His recent comment that government is more responsible for a business’ success than hard work, ingenuity or intelligence smacks of someone who – unlike, say, Henry Ford or Steve Jobs – achieved his success not because he’s especially talented or works harder than anyone else but because he’s a smooth talker and knows the right people.“If you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own,” Obama said of the business world. “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”When was the last time “somebody else” built your business, did your job for you or “made that happen” for your benefit? Unless that somebody else was a business partner, family member or employer, the answer is almost certainly, “Never!”What the President fails to appreciate is that government provided the very same roads, bridges, education and public safety for people whose business endeavors failed – perhaps because they weren’t as smart or innovative or hard-working as their competition.In America, individuals matter; they routinely are the difference between success and failure or between excellence and mediocrity. Obama either doesn’t know this or doesn’t much like it.There’s no “I” in government. Government programs treat everyone as a member of a group and transform individuals into faceless statistics for convenient managing by bureaucrats.For Obama, the measure of success isn’t a growing economy but a growing government. How else to explain Obama telling reporters last month that “the private sector is doing fine … [b]ut where we are seeing weaknesses in our economy have to do with state and local government”?And why might that be, Mr. President? Perhaps because government relies on tax revenues because, unlike the private sector, government doesn’t produce anything that anyone purchases willingly.When he later attempted to “clarify” his remarks, he said only that “the economy is not doing fine.” He never retracted his assessment of the private sector’s health.This isn’t an aberration; it’s Obamanomics 101.In 2009 as he pushed for nearly $1 trillion in borrowed, spent and wasted “stimulus,” Obama said, “Only government can break the vicious cycles that are crippling our economy.”Not only is government incapable of breaking the business cycle; government policy is often to blame for creating market distortions that produce even bigger bubbles and busts.Obama backed cap-and-trade energy regulations that, he had previously admitted, would make energy prices “skyrocket.” Somehow America’s employers and manufacturers were expected to simply absorb these skyrocketing costs without cutting jobs or hiking prices. In Obamanomics, profit — like success — just happens.The President still defends ObamaCare as a cost-savings measure despite evidence that it will increase costs and limit choices for employers, for families and for government budgets. That’s yet another reason why employers are reluctant to bring on new hires when they can’t reasonably anticipate how much ObamaCare will add to the cost of each employee.Undeterred by nearly four years of failure, Obama continues these extravagant pronouncements as if simply passing through his lips will create an alternate universe where his wildest economic fantasies actually do come true.It’s hard to imagine why anyone who’s run a business – or worked for one – will give him another four years to try.Mark Hillman served as Colorado senate majority leader and state treasurer. He is now a Centennial Institute Fellow. To read more or comment, go to www.MarkHillman.com.
There he goes again…our self-absorbed, ego-centric, narcissistic President. He plays the blame game better than anyone, taking no responsibility whatsoever for: his monumental deficit spending; his unprecedented national debt excesses; his expensive and unnecessary auto industry bailout; his appointment of dozens of unaccountable czars; his many other failed initiatives, including his failed fast and furious gun program; and his loose-lipped White House team who don’t understand that national security secrets are just that…they are secrets and they are not to be shared.
On the one hand, can you blame the president for blaming others? On the other hand, he has nothing to worry about. He’ll either be out of the office in seven (l-o-n-g) months, with full secret service protection, a pension, a lucrative book deal and speaking tour fees OR he will be starting his second four-year term as President of the United States. Then, as he implied to our enemies, he can do whatever he wants after the election. When is enough going to be enough?
One highly respected journalist was overheard uttering recently that “this president’s records sucks.” No argument here but that is probably an understatement. Let’s give that guy a Pulitzer Prize.
With the president’s proclamation about “my White House” this past week, it is rumored that yet another Presidential Order was issued recently, unbeknownst to you and me, transferring title of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue to Mr. and Mrs. Barrack Hussein Obama. If true, I find that unacceptable.
The president was visibly shaken last week when the White House was accused of leaking highly sensitive, national security secrets about double agents, drones strikes, hit lists and more. Of course, many suspected that the leaks were “intentionally leaked” to show this president is strong on national defense and he is fully engaged in the war on terror which, if you will remember, he earlier stated does not exist. In response to the leak accusation he said “that is offensive.”
To paraphrase Queen Gertrude in Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Act III, scene II “methinks this president doth protest too much.” He passionately insists so often about something not being true that people suspect the opposite of what he is saying to be true. That pretty much sums it up. Who can believe this president anymore?
Aren’t you offended by this administration’s failed policies, the broken promises and ongoing attacks on everyone in site? He continues to bully the United States Supreme Court justices in advance of their decision on the unconstitutionality of his unsustainable health care initiative; he attacks the Catholic Church for following its principles; and he blames his November opponent for disenfranchising women. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black. And to top it off, he blames Governor Mitt Romney for Obamacare saying “it was his idea.” Barry, I’ve got news for you, the people of Massachusetts wanted health care reform and they got it…and a great majority still like what they got. However, you and your democrat-controlled Congress (the House of Representatives and the Senate) rammed your takeover of national healthcare down our collective throats when you could. The difference is, most Americans did not like your plan then and we don’t like it now. Obamacare is all on you Mr. President…all three thousand pages or so. Thanks to Ms. “you’ve got to pass Obamcare so we can learn what’s in it” Pelosi, we have read it and it too “sucks.”
But remember, when everything you have tried is a total failure you have no other options in your effort for re-election than to divide and conquer and play the blame game until all is lost. And “all will be lost”, presumably and hopefully, on the evening of November 6, 2012 after the general election polls close. And then, once and for all, the man who history will label as THE worst, most political, most irresponsible, and most divisive president in the history of this country will have to find another place to live. Jimmie, you will then be officially off the hook.
In yet another news conference on June 8 (or was it a campaign speech, I get confused) the President said “People need a better sense of how I approach this office.” I don’t agree. We have a very strong sense of that after nearly three and a half years of exactly how you’ve approached this office…as if you own it. But we’ve already covered that… is it not your White House and it is not your office and a majority of Americans do not like what you have done while occupying it.
Which gives me an idea…let’s start the Occupy the White House movement, in protest to what you have been doing there. If it’s good enough for Wall Street it’s got to be good enough for Pennsylvania Avenue.
Or better still; just don’t punish yourself by giving this guy another four years to do any more damage. Do you think the First Lady may then revert to not being proud of her country?
(Centennial Fellow) President Barack Obama's $840 billion stimulus contained more than a million dollars to study erectile dysfunction, and yes, I know, any complaint will be identified as a war on men.That would be in addition to a Republican war on women as alleged by zanies not liking perfectly sound criticisms of Obama's health insurance mindlessness.Let's get serious, because there is a real issue here, namely that the runaway, reckless stimulus is part of an Obama agenda Europeanizing America and bringing us ever closer to a disastrous tipping point.It would be one in which our program bloat, romance with debt, smothering regulation and other governmental excesses get even more out of hand, creating a mess resembling what we now see most vividly in Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Ireland.
Much of the rest of Europe is not that far behind, thanks to trying to give the public more and more with policies that leave businesses producing less and less. When escaping reality became impossible, officials tried timid austerity measures. In some elections this month, spoiled voters cast ballots as if the diet would kill them. It's actually governmental obesity that could prove fatal.America has long thought of itself as different -- an energetic, freedom-hugging land made splendidly successful by self-reliance and individual initiative. There has been a lot of truth in that description, despite an ever-growing federal government that is spending a fifth of a borrowed billion every hour, according to an article by columnist Mark Steyn in Commentary magazine.
That extravagance means our pursuit of happiness could become a run for survival.The Obama stimulus is part of the overkill. It included defensible provisions, indefensible hubris and unrivaled amounts of pork. The recently publicized research on erection dysfunction is laughably far from the kind of project that spurs quick economic recovery, and the stimulus has loads of similar stupidities.Estimates of stimulus benefits cannot possibly calculate the pluses of leaving more money in the private economy, and the Congressional Budget Office is among those worrying about long-term harm offsetting current advantages.Thanks not just to the stimulus, but to fervor for more spending generally when revenues are down, the debt has grown by $5 trillion under Obama. That renders us vulnerable to immediate danger on top of saddling our grandchildren with impoverishing repayments.Unfathomably, the president ignored corrective recommendations of his own debt commission, and this year offered a $3.8 trillion budget defeated 99-0 in a Senate vote that left Democrats making flimsy excuses for what was really a rejection of ruin.Ours is a president of spectacular negligence. A prime example has been his refusal to propose changes in Social Security, Medicare (beyond cuts that were not overall budget deductions) and Medicaid, even though those three entitlements and debt interest will consume all federal tax revenues as soon as 2025 if not restructured.Obama himself has acknowledged that something has to be done, but instead of doing it, created a new health care entitlement worsening the jam we are in by more than a trillion dollars over the next decade.Obamacare malfunctions keep popping up. One is a tax levied on manufacturers of medical devices, causing some of them to give up plans for new factories and depriving Americans of still more jobs. And then there is the ending of insurance copayments for contraceptives, even though basic kinds are cheap, the poor can get them for free and those getting a break at the expense of everyone include millionaires and billionaires.You might remember that, during the health care debate, European systems were held up as the cat's meow, even though they themselves have a host of issues. Obama and Congress headed in that direction, ending up with a mishmash that ignored straightforward, relatively cheap alternatives.Sadly, this administration has a European cast of mind, and America will pay dearly if a second term eventuates.-------
Jay Ambrose was formerly Washington director of editorial policy for Scripps Howard newspapers and the editor of dailies in El Paso, Texas, and Denver. He is a columnist living in Colorado and a Centennial Institute Fellow
(Centennial Fellow) The latest embarrassment from President Barack Obama is more than an embarrassment. It's an assault on faith that begins with a 2,500-page health care bill enacted with no one expected to read it except the bureaucrats paid to translate its obscurities into thousands more pages of regulations.
After a prolonged look at a phrase that could have been interpreted multiple ways, the president and the masters of your life in the Department of Health and Human Services bypassed the sensible and decreed we are now in the age of mandated contraception coverage, one step closer to Utopian bliss.
Depending on what kind, contraceptives are easy to get for free or very cheaply. A federal study showed that virtually everyone who needs them and desires them has them. The chief reason for unwanted pregnancies is carelessness. The administration nevertheless decided to raise insurance premiums so that even the rich could get birth control benefits without co-payments or deductibles. Then came the real doozy.
Religious organizations are part of the ironclad formula. No matter the dictates of their faith, they must purchase birth control coverage for their employees in all their organizations except some churches. Must they even go along with morning-after pills that abort the workings of nature? Yes sirree, sir. The whole kit and caboodle.
Some Catholic bishops and priests have reacted furiously, even threatening civil disobedience. I myself am associated with an intåpeople who know a lot more about how you should live your life than you do and should therefore give you unbending instructions you are forced to obey. Mention of limited government leaves those of dictatorial bent shaking in fury, because that would interfere with their own power of interference.
Though some of us keep writing about it, I do not think most Americans understand the extent to which everyday liberties are being shredded. Government controls in your home extend to your light bulbs, water in your toilet, your ceiling fans, dishwashers, refrigerators and much more. Wrongheaded welfare measures have mangled our culture, contributing to intergenerational poverty, while wrongheaded industry rules not only make us poorer, but even threaten our safety. (See "The Really Inconvenient Truths" by Ian Murray.)
The Obama health care measure is a giant leap into this thicket, and one thing this particular requirement jumps over to get there is the First Amendment. The left has looked on the First Amendment religion clause chiefly as a means of telling Christians their moral judgments should not count in democratic discourse. In intellectual journals, academics with doctorate degrees amazingly warn that non-secular ethics lead to theocracy. But they do not seem to mind the government forcing people to behave contrary to conscience.
Maybe it does not get much emphasis in schools anymore, but many of the early settlers of this country were people seeking religious freedom. In my own genealogical searches, I have discovered Quaker ancestors who fled England to escape persecution. That doesn't mean the colonies allowed perfect religious freedom, but we worked on it, we had a revolution against Britain, we put together a Constitution, we adopted a Bill of Rights, we established our ideals, we got better.
We're now getting worse, and have been for quite a while, although it is all done in the name of a better world. That is always the case with anti-libertarian enthusiasms -- they are for the benefit of all us dummies, we are informed by those who see themselves as our betters, so much more enlightened, so morally superior. They are wrong, and something needs to change this election year.
Jay Ambrose, formerly Washington director of editorial policy for Scripps Howard newspapers and the editor of dailies in El Paso, Texas, and Denver, is a columnist living in Colorado and a Centennial Institute Fellow.